Recently I came across a report that a priest working in Rome had come out as homosexual (which bothers me not a a bit) and then made demands that the Catholic Church change the content of its teachings (which I think is an exercise in futility) while also revealing that he has a boyfriend (which is a serious problem). This is a serious problem because when a priest makes vows of celibacy for life, it is a grave matter to break that vow just as it is a grave matter to break the marriage vow by having sex with someone other than one’s spouse.
Unsurprisingly, the media’s attention was immediately granted to Charamsa and his proposed changes to the teachings of the Church. Unlike the priest whose report I first read, I have no problem with his idea that we need to stop refusing homosexual men from the priesthood, at least when it is done purely on the grounds that they are attracted to other men. Why not have them provide access to the sacraments at a monastery or abbey for women’s religious orders?
His insistence on the need to ask for forgiveness for the way Catholics who experience same-sex attraction have been treated seems pretty reasonable to me. There are in fact plenty of Catholics who have treated them poorly, and we might as well be honest about that and try to become more charitable to our brothers and sisters who experience same-sex attraction. Points 1, 2, 3, 5, and 9 on his list I have no issues with, on the face of them.
But where he wants the Catholic Church to stop being Catholic, to change the way it interprets the Bible, to change its Catechism, to change its other teaching documents and pastoral documents, I tend to think he’s wasting his time. And I find it difficult to believe that he is not aware that he’s wasting his time, given how quickly he was fired after revealing that he had broken his vows.
It’s a very well-timed show in advance of the Synod on the Family, and at best it will drive some media hype and spur the outrage a little higher when the Synod fails to declare that same-sex marriage is totally the best thing ever, just like it did last time.